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Original sculpture will decorate entrance to city

CARLSBAD — The city of Carlsbad is seeking input on a signature work of art that will greet visitors and residents entering the city through the HYPERLINK “”new roundabout, under construction at its northern gateway, the intersection of Carlsbad Boulevard and State Street.

Artist Roger White Stoller has been commissioned to create “CoastalHelix,” to adorn the intersection of Carlsbad Boulevard and State Street.  Courtesy photo
Artist Roger White Stoller has been commissioned to create “CoastalHelix,” to adorn the intersection of Carlsbad Boulevard and State Street.  Courtesy photo

City representatives selected Bay Area artist Roger White Stoller to create a sculpture they believe will reflect Carlsbad’s community and cultural identity. Stoller was selected by a city public art advisory committee after a nationwide search. His proposed sculpture, entitled “CoastalHelix,” will weave images drawn from Carlsbad’s culture and environment into a metal lacework as part of the artwork to be placed in the roundabout.

“The roundabout is an important entryway into Carlsbad, and the committee envisioned a piece of art that tells people that Carlsbad is a vibrant city, a cultural city, and a city of great natural beauty,” said Carlsbad Cultural Arts Manager Vincent Kitch.

The city is installing the roundabout to improve connectivity for all modes of transportation at the busy intersection. The new roundabout is designed to make it easier to travel between State Street and Carlsbad Boulevard from either direction, which isn’t possible under its current Y-shaped configuration.

It is designed to also improve safety by slowing traffic and adding room for bicyclists and pedestrians. The roundabout includes a new segment of the Coastal Rail Trail, bicycle lanes on Carlsbad Boulevard and a sidewalk on the east side of the boulevard. The city also will install “sharrow lanes” — lanes shared by vehicles and bicycles — on State Street, welcoming bicyclists into the historic Carlsbad Village.

In September 2013 the Carlsbad City Council allocated $100,000 to incorporate a public artwork at the roundabout, because of its strategic location along Historic Highway 101. The roundabout will greet travelers crossing Buena Vista Lagoon from Oceanside into Carlsbad.

The city initiated a nationwide search for an artist through a Request for Qualifications. After reviewing nearly 90 artist submissions from throughout the country, the advisory committee, consisting of Carlsbad arts commissioners, community stakeholders, public art professionals and city of Carlsbad staff, selected Stoller in December from among several final candidates.

“It was evident from Roger’s presentation to the selection committee that his designs and his approach to this work were perfectly suited to the roundabout, which is scheduled to be complete by June,” Kitch said.

Stoller, who is based in the San Francisco Bay communities of Portola Valley and San Jose, said his aim is to produce a sculpture that will represent Carlsbad for many years, and he met with stakeholders and community members to hear what they thought was important to include in the work.

“I’m trying to learn what is iconic and meaningful to the community and put this into the piece, but in such a way so that it’s not just obvious, like, ‘Oh, there’s another pelican,’ or ‘There’s another whale,’” he said. “I’ll take these iconic images and ‘weave’ them into the metal-lace pattern that becomes part of the artwork. My work is abstract and these images will not be easily found, but they will be there.”

Examples of Stoller’s public artworks include “Tetrahelix,” a bronze, steel and granite sculpture at Google’s corporate headquarters, “Baja Luna,” a metal and onyx sculpture hanging at the Magnussen Lodge in Lake Tahoe, “Tetra Con Brio,” composed of bronze, steel and concrete, for the music center in Strathmore, Md. Carlsbad’s HYPERLINK “”Art in Public Places program. Beginning in 1985, the program is designed to expand residents’ appreciation of art, reflect the city’s aspiration to improve the quality of life and to enhance and identify Carlsbad as a unique community. A key component of Carlsbad’s program is an emphasis on public participation during the selection process.

The Arts Commission’s next meeting will be at 9 a.m. on March 6 in the City Council Chambers, 1200 Carlsbad Village Drive.